Style Lend: Rent a Dress to Impress

Styling, photography and makeup: Grace Peisker with help from Conor Haffey

Modeling: roommate and stunner, Fiona Brownell

The holiday season is nearing, and with every dropping degree, the majority of FIT students will plane-train-and-automobile their way home for the winter. This process is as stress-inducing as the holiday movie itself – and after traveling a handful of states, or maybe even an ocean away, a mob of eager relatives…. are waiting.  This can easily strike fear in any college student’s soul, especially if your extended relatives are anything like mine (curious if your “fashion school experience” is an actual education.) The only salvation just may be showing up to family festivities in a dress that makes people nearly forget to ask about your GPA.

In comes Style Lend, the newest face in fashion rental. With hundreds of dresses and dozens of brands available, from Reformation to Chanel, the holidays are all but a runway (the fashion critics being your aunts and uncles.) All of the luxe items are five to ten percent of their original prices, so instead of forking over $2000 for something you’ll only wear a handful of times, you can look just as expensive and send it back a week later!

It was conceived just five years ago by founder and jetsetter Lona Alia, who needed one-time, high-end outfits while traveling, without the baggage – literally. “It’s for a girl who wants to always look different, wants to look cool, has a social calendar, and is going out a lot… she needs a way to always look different,” says Alia.

To test out the logistics, I rented a dress and styled it as though it was suitable for a party on the Upper West Side, where, say, an imaginary rich uncle lives.  I chose a fun LBD from an unknown designer, listed at $60. After tax, shipping, and insurance, it came out to $75.


It took only a few days to send and arrived with a handy envelope for return. While the rental process was seamless, the lack of directions left me wondering whether I had handled and returned the dress correctly. As a chronic worrier, instructions included with the package would have made me feel much more at ease. Nevertheless, after a week in my closet, I sent the dress back with no trouble. On a less significant note, my roommate looked much better in the dress than I did. #Rude!


Despite this, I was very content with Style Lend. Not only does it have access to beautiful clothes as well as accessories, but by renting and buying the season’s hottest pieces from each other, it’s all sustainable and creates a modern and fashionable community for the Millennial and Gen-Z woman.


Not to mention, Style Lend is a kick in the face of fast fashion;  a pressing issue today in the fashion world, and one that many women are becoming more and more concerned with.

Alia says it best: “For the women that want to be sustainable, and want to wear something beautiful and feel amazing, they would rather rent something and then return it, than buy something cheap, wear it once, and then throw it away. Instead of buying something that makes you look like everyone else, a cheaper thing, you can wear a much better-made dress for less.” Perfect for the blogger, socialite, or FIT student!

On campus, it’s hard to deny that people are pulling out all the stops to look top-shelf. A good deal on a beautiful dress is a necessity, and so is the obligation to remain sustainable and stylish. So next presentation, gala, or Christmas dinner, before you go to the local Zara and feed into fast-fashion, or drop $400 at Opening Ceremony, check Style Lend. “Our goal is to educate the global population to be more mindful with fashion. If we do our job correctly, Style Lend will be available all over the world for women connected by fashion.”


1 Comment
  1. this article is amazingly written! the author should be proud and might i add, as someone who wants to study photography (and hopefully will) the photographs (and the model) are beautiful. congratulations grace, i hope you carry on in the direction you’re going in!